Attractions Along The Literary Highway

Hi Future Children’s Authors and friends,

Just like you I am on a journey, a long journey, on that difficult road to publication. Hence the nome de plume, Journeygirl. My real name is Artelle Lenthall and I don’t know about you, but I have always loved to write and to read for that matter (a very important component, I’m hearing more and more often) to becoming a published writer. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve ventured on to the literary highway, but lacking knowledge of the road rules and subsequently having children made me decide to stay on the curb a little while longer.

Well, here I am several years on, that baby, my eldest is now 18! Whoops strayed a bit too far into the woods. However, this was not necessarily a bad thing. I have loved being a Mum AND I now have plenty of ideas for writing Picture Books, my weapon of mass instruction… and enjoyment. You see I’ve also been a teacher for twenty five years now, I just love kids and children’s literature. As well as gaining plenty of ideas in that time, someone has planted beautiful attractions along the road verge and I (and you too) can now come along and pick them. What am I talking about? The Internet as a matter of fact and its ability to inform us about groups, events and publications to guide and support us along the way.

Information, help and guidance are now so much more available and accessible. Many resources are even free! Although as with everything else you pretty much get what you pay for. I’m not saying that you have to pay a fortune to get anywhere, but we’re out to learn here and education costs. (Books, courses,memberships and conferences, generally not the actual website) Anyway here are some of the things I am discovering, enjoying and learning, ranging from the free to the not so free.
Blogs– a great way to catch with your old and not so old favourite authors, just search their name and if they have a blog it will come up.

Creative Kids a terrific Australian website for emerging children’s authors and illustrators, jam packed with ideas, links, information, book reviews. You can even showcase your work for a $20 a year or $30 if you’re an author/ illustrator. It is updated monthly and Georgie is always coming up with innovative new ideas to help children’s authors e.g. The podcasts of a radio show called The Author’s Shelf which she hosted for a couple if years.

Writer’s  An American website which is a veritable font of knowledge and products to assist not only authors seeking publication in the USA but worldwide. Although the site’s enewsletter is free, there is a lot of advertising of their webinars, courses, conferences and products. If you can get past this, it is really worthwhile.

State Writer’s Centres– obviously being from NSW that is the one I will refer to, however, I have completed webinars at the QLD Writers Centre. The NSW Writer’s Centre has a paper(part of membership package – various prices) and an enewsletter (free) which you can subscribe to which inform members of competitions and courses for each quarter. They also have a bi-annual Kids and Young Adult Festival.

Festivals/Conferences– Speaking of festivals, Having attended the Writers Unleashed Festival a couple of years ago for the first time, I cannot speak highly enough of the experience, if for no other reason than being in the presence of so many other writers and better still, published authors. Authors, who I have to say are so friendly and willing to give of their time.

Competitions– Enter! Enter! Enter! Yes, they cost. However, for the most part they’re really worth it. These range in price, expectations and prize money. I have researched to see which ones best suited my style of writing, level of ability and budget. I find among others the CYA Writing Competition to be really worth the cost as it is judged by two different judges, both of whom give you written feedback and a score. These scores are then added to give you both your total score and your competition rank.

Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW)– Joining the Australian Fellowship of Authors is an excellent way to meet other writers and to share and critique your work. It’s also not a bad way to make some likeminded writerly friends, after all, this by nature is a lonely job.

Society of Children’s Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)-  or I have to admit, I haven’t joined this one having found and paid registration fees to others first, however, I am told that for children’s writers, this worldwide society is one of the best. I certainly do search up information on this site, I’m just not a member, yet.

The Australia/NZ Chapter’s President is the multi-talented author of the I am Jack books, Suzanne Gervay and meetings are held at beautiful and historical The Hughenden Boutique Hotel.

The Australian Writer’s Marketplace– is also an exhaustive source of information on everything writing in an Online or a print version.

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA)- I have to admit this is not one that I have used very much, not being anywhere near publication yet. I am told, however, that  it is also very useful, particularly regarding help with contracts and other industry specifics.

Finally, there are actual publishers websites, however, if you’re like me you don’t even know the names of any, other than the big ones e.g. Penguin, Walker, Scholastic etc. In which case any of the websites, groups above can help. I hope that helps and I hope to see you back here in the next fortnight.

Remember to savour the quest,

Farewell fellow travellers



About Artelle Lenthall

Hi Fellow Children’s Writers and Friends, I am a published Picture Book author as well as a wife, mother and Primary School teacher. I am loving the new 'sites' on the continuing road to publication. I belong to the Fellowship of Australian Writers(FAW) Creative Kids Tales(CKT) Jen Storer’s The Scribblers and although I'd love to belong to more writing related organisations, I have found friends, support, critiquing and general encouragement with these, for which I am truly grateful. I also subscribe to Tara Lazar's specialist Picture Book website; How to Write For Kids While Raising Them, Buzz Words and The Duck Pond where I am one of the moderators. These inspire me in the development of my craft. Worth a look if like me, Picture Books and Children’s Writing are your passion.
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